We Can Be Heroes

VMSD/Peter Glen’s Retailer of the Year Award honors essential retailers for their selfless efforts
Posted September 1, 2020

As we are learning on virtually a daily basis, this year is truly like no other. The coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns and restrictions have challenged us all to rethink the way in which we work, play and live. Balancing a healthy respect for our safety, and that of others, with the need to continue to innovate and grow as professionals and as organizations colors every move we make.

When our editorial team and Editorial Advisory Board began deliberations on this year’s VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year Award early this summer, the conversation immediately turned to the unpredictable events of 2020. We knew almost immediately that this year, we needed to do something different.

Would it be appropriate to single out one retailer as we have in the past? Should we consider declaring 2020 an anomaly and put the award on hiatus until next year? Or should we simply honor all retailers?

We considered the criteria for the award, set forth in memory of retail industry observer, motivational speaker, author and longtime VMSD columnist Peter Glen, to recognize a retailer that best exemplifies his three core retail values: innovation, service and intelligence.

The second of these values, service, seemed especially appropriate during these trying times. For the first time in my lifetime, the sophisticated supply chain we’ve all taken for granted in this country (one-hour delivery, anyone?) was put to the test and faltered. Retail associates became front-line workers, risking their own health and that of their families to ensure that the necessities of life – food, water, medication – were readily available to the population at large.

Many organizations, like DIY retailer Lowe’s and many others, stepped up to offer bonuses and hazard pay to their associates. “This year has been full of challenges and uncertainty, and we are tremendously grateful for the hard work, dedication and commitment of our front-line associates,” said Lowe’s CEO and President Marvin Ellison in a statement.

Very quickly it became clear to us who the heroes in our industry were and for that reason, we have chosen to honor all essential retailers and their selfless and tireless associates for seeing us through one of the most difficult times in recent history. For more on our 2020 VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year, please see p. 18 of this issue for the full story.

It’s often said that an organization is only as good as its people; this year, we learned just how true a statement that is.